Song of Solomon 2:11-12 - The Winter is Past
The Winter is Past
“For lo, the winter
is past, the rain is over and gone, the flowers appear on the earth; the time of
singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land”
(Song of Solomon 2:11-12)
A few mornings ago, I was seated on a plane
that was soon to leave California and head for Arizona, where I was to be one of
the speakers at a Men’s Retreat. I looked out of the window and noticed a young
man who was dressed in the typical outfit worn by those who are seen next to
departing aircraft everywhere. He was standing in the shade, leaning against a
now empty luggage carrier, and everything about him looked – bored! An older,
completely bald, heavy-set man now emerged into my view through the small window
next to my seat. The man’s head was moving from side-to-side and he was
obviously looking for something, which turned out to be the young man.
When he saw him, he beckoned for the
younger man to get out of the shade and move over to the airplane. The young
man, who was carrying two bright-orange batons, moved with some reluctance,
stared blankly up at the cockpit of the plane and crossed the batons in front of
his chest. I noticed that the heavy-set man had moved back, but was still
staring across the tarmac at the younger man, and as the airplane started to
move, the young man turned and walked back sluggishly toward the terminal.
That kind of apparent lack of enthusiasm is
seen quite often in religious gatherings such as the church, which is sometimes
called the “body of Christ.” Have you noticed the
grim faces that may surround you on a Sunday morning? The teaching is fine, the
music is good, but the faces all too often lack the enthusiasm expressed for
OTHER events, like football games or the sale at a local store. The young man at
the airport had been given a job to do and he was being given a reward for doing
it – money; probably along with medical and dental insurance. He was
participating in a work that is exciting because it facilitates the rapid
movement of people from one place to another and the work of all involved is
intended to save human lives. I then noticed through my small window that there
were actually two young men moving away from the aircraft. As we departed, both
of them looked bored, not unlike many “Christians” on a Sunday morning.
And yet there is hope for us all, as
expressed in various forms within His written Word, the Bible. The Book that
many have called the “Song of Solomon,” or “Song
of Songs,” was written approximately 3000 years ago by King Solomon, of
Israel. He was a man in love with love, a factor within his personality that
caused him and his descendents a lot of trouble. There were too many women in
his life and all of them tended to bring false gods into his household and to
the nation. And yet, this man who personally did foolish things, also had the
kind of wisdom that only comes from God. And that is true for many who love the
Lord. God’s people are “gifted” by Him for service, but in areas other than our
“gifting,” we are merely human, which leads to all kinds of problems.
girl he loved and talked about in the “Song of Solomon,”
may have been a literal person, the love of his life, or she may also have been
an allegory, the expression of his love for love itself. The nation Israel
accepted this Book as part of the Old Testament Bible, practically from the time
it was written, receiving it as an expression of God’s love for Israel. And that
is true – God does view that nation as His beloved. You can see something of His
love in places like Hosea 2:19-20, where God said to Israel through the prophet:
“I will betroth you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you
to Me in righteousness and justice, in lovingkindness and mercy; I will betroth
you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord.” The Church
reasonably accepted it in much the same manner, for God has a deep and permanent
love for ALL who place their faith in Him. There were many in Israel with such
faith and there are many in the Church who also exhibit that kind of faith. God
accepts us on that basis, declaring us to be “the bride,
the Lamb’s wife” (Revelation 21:9 & context). He loves those who trust
Him to the extent that we are like a beloved “wife”
to Him. In other places, he refers to us as His “children,”
using every means to reveal His intense, permanent love for you and me.
And yet, all too often, we are like that
bored airport worker who has been given a job, which is a blessing, but his
apparent response is dissatisfaction – he seems to want something else in life.
As to you and me; we have been given simply – everything! We are like the
beloved “wife,” the favored child, the delight of
God for all eternity. And yet, when you look around at the stony faces on Sunday
morning, the typical facial expression is like someone ran over your foot in the
parking lot on your way into the service!
To compare the Book, the “Song
of Solomon,” with God’s love for His people, is completely accurate.
Again, Solomon’s direct intention in writing may have been to create a work of
fiction, or it may have been an historical account of something that personally
happened to him. We actually do not know. But we do know that many have been
touched by the words of the “Song of Solomon,” to
an extent that they were changed by the love of God in Christ Jesus – forever.
Many years ago, I supervised the County
Clerk personnel within the five Juvenile Court branches of Los Angeles County.
On one occasion, I ran out of “relief” personnel to be used as Superior Court
Clerks and assigned myself to a courtroom in one of the branches. The bailiff in
the courtroom saw me reading during the lunch recess and noting that it was the
Bible, he began making fun of it. He had identified himself as a “lover” during
the morning recess, bragging about his recent “conquests.” My response to his
ridicule of Scripture was to open God’s Word to the “Song
of Solomon” and I asked him to read the first Chapter or so. He did and
he was shocked. I don’t know what happened to him after that because it was and
is a big Court system, but his attitude changed - immediately.
He was deeply affected by what he had seen
and it definitely CHANGED his response to the Bible. The Holy Spirit has
included material in God’s Word that will surprise even the most resistant and
can bring us all into a personal relationship with His Son. Once we are His and
He is ours, we find, as in the Christian song of some years ago, that “the
things of earth grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”
We at last look up from our problems and instead see His love. We discover that,
“the winter is past, the rain is over and gone, the
flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the
turtledove is heard in our land” (Song of Solomon 2:11-12). Receive His
joy – today.
Father, life is often grim, but You are
wonderful. Help us to look up from our troubles and find the love and joy of the
Lord, now and forever. In Jesus Name. Amen.